What makes a star principal? Is it IQ, expertise, or training? While intelligence, expertise, and training do contribute to effective school leadership, there seems to be something else that separates the “star principals” from the others.
In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goldman identifies the ability to handle oneself and others as the key to becoming a star in a chosen field. Goldman designates skills and abilities like IQ and expertise as “threshold” skills that can help someone obtain a position, but those skills alone will not assure success.
To become a star principal, an individual must have self-discipline and the social skills to work with others. We’ve all known individuals who have superior intelligence but lack the social skills to lead others, or individuals who have the expertise to get the job done but are not self-disciplined enough to control their own emotions.
As the title of the book suggests, these most important skills for predicting who will excel in a job are called Emotional Intelligence. Goldman even states that for outstanding leadership, Emotional Intelligence “counts for almost everything.”
As we recruit, select, induct, train, coach, and evaluate principals, we must be aware of the impact of Emotional Intelligence. School districts that leverage this advantage will significantly contribute to their bottom line – student achievement.